Jolley v Sutton London Borough Council: QBD 1998

The claimant, a boy was injured when playing around a boat abandoned on land owned by the defendant. He had propped it up to attempt a repair, and was crushed when it fell on him. He said that in not removing the boat they had been negligent.
Held: It has long been established that children are or may be attracted to meddle with objects on premises or property which constitute a danger when meddled with. An occupier is under a duty to protect a child from danger caused by meddling with such an object by taking reasonable steps in the circumstances including, where appropriate, removing the object altogether so as to avoid the prospect of injury: ‘I find that the type of accident and injury which occurred in this case was reasonably foreseeable (albeit that it involved significant meddling with the boat by two young teenage boys and that the injuries proved to be very severe) and that the actions of the plaintiff and/or Karl did not amount to a novus actus. Accordingly, I find the defendants in breach of their duty to the plaintiff as occupiers and (subject to the point on contributory negligence considered below) liable to the plaintiff for the injury, loss and damage which he has sustained.’ The council was liable, though the claimant was 25% contributorily negligent.
References: [1998] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 433
Judges: Geoffrey Brice QC
Statutes: Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 2(2)
This case cites:

  • Cited – Hughes v Lord Advocate HL 21-Feb-1963
    The defendants had left a manhole uncovered and protected only by a tent and paraffin lamp. A child climbed down the hole. When he came out he kicked over one of the lamps. It fell into the hole and caused an explosion. The child was burned. The . .
    ([1963] AC 837, [1963] 1 All ER 705, 1963 SC (HL) 31, , [1963] UKHL 1, , [1963] UKHL 8)

This case is cited by:

  • Appeal from – Regina v London Borough of Sutton, ex parte Jolley CA 19-Jun-1998
    The plaintiff, a boy, was injured when playing on a derelict boat left on council land. The council appealed an award of damages against it.
    Held: A local authority may be liable for injury caused by a derelict boat not removed from their land . .
    (Gazette 15-Jul-98, Times 23-Jun-98, , [1998] EWCA Civ 1049, [1998] 1 WLR 1546)
  • First instance – Jolley v Sutton London Borough Council HL 24-May-2000
    An abandoned boat had been left on its land and not removed by the council. Children tried to repair it, jacked it up, and a child was injured when it fell. It was argued for the boy, who now appealed dismissal of his claim by the Court of Appeal, . .
    (Times 24-May-00, Gazette 08-Jun-00, , , [2000] 1 WLR 1082, [2000] UKHL 31, [2000] 3 All ER 409)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.227969